last week’s obituary fred halliday a co-universalist
i had never heard of:

It was not a prodigal’s return … from one simplicity to another. He looked for a less dogmatic politics that combined liberal values, respect for human rights and social equity. He hoped the space for such a social-democratic outlook existed in regions he knew best, beyond Europe and the United States. He was too shrewd to believe that it must exist. He was nevertheless withering with anyone who claimed that the persistence of autocratic and theocratic attitudes meant that it could not exist. As with God and Marx before, he thought of political values as universal.

He also favoured outside intervention to rid people of oppressors. A Soviet-backed regime was preferable to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and he blamed the United States for creating a seedbed for Islamist terror there. “Bin Laden”, he said, “is the illegitimate child of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.” He was for removing Saddam Hussein, though he thought the occupiers recklessly ill prepared. To the enemies this earned him on the left, he retorted: “The future of humanity does not lie in the back streets of Fallujah.”

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